About

Bold leadership, ground-breaking ideas, unparalleled passion …

For almost a decade the European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme has brought together the brightest minds and outside the box leaders to put their innovative thinking to work at building a more forward-thinking Europe that is a global champion for a better world. The European Young Leaders represent a new generation of leaders, able to tackle the increasing disconnects between citizens and political elites, to rebuild the trust that is vital to democracies.

These promising and established leaders come from a variety of backgrounds including politics, business, civil society, arts, science and the media.


Listen here to the leading views of our EYLs on a variety of topics

Negar Mortazavi on Europe's role in the US-Iran dispute, the Trump factor and the role of media

Leading view

Negar Mortazavi on Europe's role in the US-Iran dispute, the Trump factor and the role of media

Negar Mortazavi

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Una Mullally on abortion rights, marriage equality and galvanising a generation for change

Leading view

Una Mullally on abortion rights, marriage equality and galvanising a generation for change

Una Mullally

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Philanthropy & the business case for human rights with Thomson Reuters Foundation’s Antonio Zappulla

Leading view

Philanthropy & the business case for human rights with Thomson Reuters Foundation’s Antonio Zappulla

Antonio Zappulla

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Author Francesca Cavallo on Rebel Girls, bro-culture and crowd-funding

Leading view

Author Francesca Cavallo on Rebel Girls, bro-culture and crowd-funding

Francesca Cavallo

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Continue to Meet the EYL

Meet the EYL40

Jan Goossens
Jan Goossens

Artistic Director of KVS, the Royal Flemish Theatre in Brussels, 2012 European Young Leader

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Jan is Artistic Director of KVS, the Royal Flemish Theatre in Brussels, since 2001. He has established an ambitious artistic programme that embraces the intercultural and linguistic diversity of Brussels. He is the initiator of cultural exchange programmes between Belgium, the Congo and the Arab world, and is a Belgian Fellow of the Eisenhower Foundation. Jan has also written several books and articles on subjects such as culture, media and the future of Belgium and Europe.

Joséphine Goube
Joséphine Goube

CEO of Techfugees, 2019 European Young Leader

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Joséphine has served as the CEO of Techfugees since 2015. A fierce lobbyist for smarter migration policies, she was selected to be part of the EU’s immigration experts group to advise on the reform of visa rules for foreign entrepreneurs in Europe. In addition to these roles, she is also a board Member for the Norwegian Refugee Council and was nominated as one of the top ‘30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurs’ by Forbes in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Prior to founding Techfugees, Joséphine was partnerships manager at Migreat, a London-based start-up which facilitates the movement and settlement of migrants across Europe.

Dionysis Grammenos
Dionysis Grammenos

Conductor, Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra, 2018 European Young Leader

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As one of the most charismatic conductors of his generation, Dionysis made his debut at the age of twenty-one with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra. Since then, he has been awarded with several honours and was the first Greek to receive a Conducting Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival. By the age of twenty, Dionysis had won European Young Musician of the Year Prize and had been featured on a Greek postage stamp. This young virtuoso has performed in some of the world’s most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Cité de la Musique in Paris and the Barbican Centre in London and has worked with orchestras such as the Vienna Symphony and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, among others.

Victoria Herrmann
Victoria Herrmann

President & Managing Director of The Arctic Institute, 2017 North American Young Leader

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“Victoria Herrmann is the President and Managing Director of the Arctic Institute. Her
research and writing focus on climate change, community adaptation, human
development, and resource economies, with a particular focus on Arctic oil and gas.
Herrmann previously worked at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s
Energy and Climate Program. She was awarded a Eureka! Prize from the Baker
Institute for Entrepreneurship in 2012 and a Fulbright Scholarship to Canada to
pursue Arctic research in 2013. She is the author of Arctic Melt: Turning Resource
Extraction into Human Development (2015). She has been published in many peerreview
journals and appeared on BBC and CNN, among others. In 2016, Herrmann
travelled across the United States for the National Geographic-funded book on
climate change stories America’s Eroding Edges. She is a Gates Scholar at the
Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge, where she is pursuing
a PhD in Political Geography of the Arctic.”

Sami Hourani
Sami Hourani

Founder and Executive Director of Leaders of Tomorrow, 2017 MENA Young Leader

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Sami Hourani is medical doctor and serial social entrepreneur. He is the founding director of the well-known educational platform For9a.com. Dr. Hourani is also the founder and the executive director of the regional organization Leaders of Tomorrow and the innovative social initiatives; Diwanieh, Mo7aka and the new and creative qualitative research methodology FADFED. He is a fellow at Ashoka, largest hub for social innovators world wide. He received King Abdullah II Demoqrati award in 2014 and EUROMED youth award in 2013. He was also elected as the Jordanian Role Model of 2011 and received the Jordanian title “Knight of Change” in 2008.

Tomáš Ignác Fénix
Tomáš Ignác Fénix

Farmer & Vice President of the European Council of Young Farmers, 2019 European Young Leader

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Tomáš Ignác is the Vice President of the European Council of Young Farmers – the voice of Europe’s next generation of farmers towards the European institutions. He also runs a 50-ha organic fruit and wine family farm in southern Moravia and cooperates with agricultural and environmental institutions as part of his farm business. The motivation to farm in this less favoured region is a holistic approach to (re-)build the countryside. Previously, Tomáš actively engaged in the NGO Antikomplex, working on the German Czech reconciliation. In addition, he led the LGBT Christian community called Logos for four years. His ambition is to advocate for a sustainable agricultural policy and a strong bond of the European nations and between rural areas and cities.

Anne-Marie Imafidon
Anne-Marie Imafidon

Chief Executive Officer of Stemettes, 2018 European Young Leader

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Anne-Marie co-founded and became the CEO of Stemettes in 2013. Through this social enterprise, she aims to inspire and promote the involvement of the next generation of women into scientific, technologic, engineering, and mathematics centred subjects (STEM) and careers. Within three years, Stemettes has attracted over 7000 girls across the UK, Ireland and Europe to their events. A child prodigy, Anne-Marie’s passion and success in the STEM scene started at an early age, with passing two GCSEs at the age of ten, and being the youngest girl ever to pass A-Level Computing. In recognition of her influence and achievements, Anne-Marie was awarded an MBE in 2017.

Karel Janecek
Karel Janecek

Chairman of the Supervisory Board, RSJ Algorithmic Trading, 2013 European Young Leader

Show more information on Karel Janecek

Karel is a Czech anti-corruption activist, mathematician and social-reformer, who is using his skills to rethink how democracy functions. Following a series of corruption scandals in 2013 that threatened to bring down the Czech government, Karel engaged in a number of initiatives aimed at improving governmental accountability through citizen action and electoral reform. One of these is Democracy 2.1 (D21), primarily based on the possibility to vote against a candidate. This concept is currently used by the cities of Prague and New York, and was also tested by the UK National Health Service (NHS).

Derek Johnson
Derek Johnson

Executive Director Global Zero, 2017 North American Young Leader

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Derek Johnson is the Executive Director of the Global Zero, the international movement for a world without nuclear weapons. As a creative strategist working on the front lines of catalytic advocacy, foreign policy and social change, Derek has spent the last seven years positioning Global Zero as a highly credible source of policy analysis and thought leadership, a trusted intermediary among nuclear-armed states, and a provocative advocacy operation in key regions. He has a knack for identifying strategic opportunities and the right tactics that can push the message into the mainstream in order to shine a spotlight or apply pressure. In addition to developing organizational strategy, overseeing day-to-day operations, and leading fundraising efforts, Derek also spearheads special projects — from coordinating sensitive track-1.5 initiatives to producing viral and award-winning digital content.

Before taking the helm at Global Zero, Derek worked to advance interfaith dialogue and cooperation on social issues at the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions and helped organize its flagship convening in Melbourne, Australia. He also worked to enhance access to justice, human rights and rule of law at JUSTICE, the British section of the International Commission of Jurists in London, and worked as an attorney for several years in Boston.

Derek is a graduate of Cornell College and Boston College Law School, with an academic background in English literature, philosophy and international law. He is also a member of the Munich Young Leaders group of rising experts in foreign and security policy, jointly organized by Körber Foundation and the Munich Security Conference, as well as the European Young Leaders group organized by Friends of Europe.”

Selina Juul
Selina Juul

Founder and Chairman of the Board of Stop Wasting Food movement, 2018 European Young Leader

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Selina is an activist widely known for her work in promoting the reduction of food waste, featured on BBC and CNN. She founded the non profit organisation Stop Wasting Food movement, which led Denmark to engaging in the fight against food waste from farm to fork. Selina has authored over 190 articles on food waste, she is a blogger for The Huffington Post USA and published a leftovers cookbook. She has received numerous awards for her work, the most notable are Dane of the Year 2014 and Winner of Nordic Council Nature and Environment Prize 2013. She works with the EU and the UN and is a member of global coalition against food waste Champions 12.3.

Stefania Kapronczay
Stefania Kapronczay

Executive Director of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, 2018 European Young Leader

Show more information on Stefania Kapronczay

Stefánia is a human rights activist working in the context of illiberal democracies. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU), the leading human rights NGO in Hungary that aims to increase awareness of fundamental human rights and that gives Hungarians the ability to enforce these rights when they are abused, especially by those in position of public power. Before the large-scale demonstrations in Budapest in 2017, HCLU was named as one of the three key civil organisations that need to be restricted in Hungary by the ruling FIDESZ party. Stefánia also co-chairs the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations. Lawyer by training, she has particular expertise on the reproductive rights of people with disabilities and is a passionate defender of the rights of vulnerable groups.

Sandor Lederer
Sandor Lederer

Co-Founder and CEO of K-Monitor, 2015-2016 European Young Leader

Show more information on Sandor Lederer

Sandor is the Co-Founder and CEO of K-Monitor, a non-profit public funds watchdog based in Budapest. The NGO was founded to improve the current levels of transparency and the rule of law in Hungary. Civic participation and technology driven solutions are among the organizations key instruments. Beside K-Monitor’s tech focus, the organization is also active in anti-corruption advocacy and research. Sandor was contributing to the European Commission’s Anti-corruption Report as the Local Research Country Correspondent for Hungary. One of the recent projects K-Monitor has been working on is redflags.eu, a program that uses algorithmic indicators to analyze risky public procurements.

Bertalan Meskó
Bertalan Meskó

Founder, The Medical Futurist, 2019 European Young Leader

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Bertalan is a medical doctor with a Ph.D. in clinical genomics who designed his own profession of “medical futurist”. Struck by the challenge of filtering correct and reliable medical advice online, he founded the blog The Medical Futurist, where he covers technological developments before they get to market along with the possibilities and ethical challenges they present. Today, he has over 3 million readers and is seen as an internationally recognised leader in digital health. Bertalan has given over 500 presentations, including courses at Yale, Stanford and Harvard University as well as the Future med course organized by the Singularity University at NASA. Furthermore, Bertalan was featured by dozens of top publications, including CNN, the World Health Organization, National Geographic, Forbes, TIME magazine, BBC, and the New York Times.

Ayman Mhanna
Ayman Mhanna

Executive Director, Samir Kassir Foundation, 2017 MENA Young Leader

Show more information on Ayman Mhanna

Ayman Mhanna is Executive Director of the Beirut-based Samir Kassir Foundation, one of the leading press freedom NGOs in the Middle East. In this capacity, he oversees the foundation’s advocacy, monitoring, research and training activities. Mhanna has previously held the position of Executive Director of the Global Forum for Media Development, focusing on monitoring violations targeting journalists and providing them with the necessary support. He has also extensively worked with issues related to election observation, electoral reform and civil society involvement. Until recently, he was a lecturer on policy development and communications at Saint Joseph University in Beirut. In 2016, he was appointed Secretary-General of the Democratic Renewal Movement, a secular, social-liberal political party in Lebanon.

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Events

Continue to Selection process

Selection process

Selection process for the Balkan class is now open

Friends of Europe is looking for outstanding candidates to join our Balkan European Young Leaders Class of 2020. Building on our successful European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme, we are expanding by selecting six Young Leaders from the Western Balkan region. These six Balkan Young Leaders will be invited to take part in all activities organised within our EYL40 programme.

We are looking for candidates who

  • Are between 30 and 40 years of age (born on or after 1 January 1980);
  • Have proven track records as established thought leaders in their fields of activity;
  • Reached, or are on track to reaching, the highest ranks of their field of expertise;
  • Candidates must be a national of 1 of the 6 Balkan states currently involved in enlargement negotiations (Serbia, Kosovo*, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro);
  • Candidates are required to be fluent in English, the programme’s working language.

Current and previous European Young Leaders include

  • Eneko Atxa, Chef at three-Michelin-starred restaurant Azurmendi, Spain
  • Danka Barteková, Olympic Bronze Medallist, Slovakia
  • Clément Beaune, Europe and G20 Advisor to President Emmanuel Macron, France
  • John Collison, President & Co-Founder of Stripe, Ireland
  • Alexandra Dariescu, Concert Pianist and Producer of ‘The Nutcracker and I’, Romania
  • Carole Dieschbourg, Minister of the Environment, Luxembourg
  • Selina Juul, Founder and Chairman of the Stop Wasting Food movement, Denmark
  • Kaja Kallas, Leader of the liberal Reform party, Estonia
  • Magid Magid, Member of the European Parliament, United Kingdom
  • Frédéric Mazzella, CEO and Founder of BlablaCar, France
  • Souad Mekhennet, Correspondent for the Washington Post, Germany
  • Bastian Obermayer, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and recipient of the ‘Panama Papers’, Germany
  • Marko Pavic, Minister for Labour and the Pension System, Croatia
  • Jens Spahn, Minister for Health, Germany

Application process

For nominations:
Please send the full name, date of birth and all contact details of the candidate that you wish to nominate. Please include a short biography of their professional background and achievements, as well as a letter explaining why you believe that they are a suitable candidate for the programme.

For personal applications:
Please send your CV (including date of birth and full contact details), together with a cover letter explaining why you believe that you should be considered for the programme.

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: 11 October 2019
All submissions should be sent directly to eyl40@friendsofeurope.org

* For the United Nations Development Programme, references to Kosovo in this document accordingly shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).
For the European Union, this designation used is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UN Security Council resolution 1244/99 and the International Court of Justice Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

The deadline for the selection process of the “regular” EYL40 class of 2020 has passed.

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